Now and then I run into moments that really do seem like fodder for that novel I still hope to write someday. I never know when or where they're likely to crop up, so I try to stay alert to all possibilities.
Last Saturday, I found myself (much to my surprise) shopping for Christmas tree ornaments at K-Mart. And, as you might expect, there were several dozen tots running around, savaging the artificial trees and crunching the fragile glass decorations underfoot. Well, four-year-olds can be adorable but deadly, as we all know.
So there really wasn't anything unusual about seeing this little kid clinging to his mother's jeans and yelling at full throttle. It was just the sentiment he was expressing that made the whole thing seem just slightly bizarre. The little dear was screaming "I want something! I want something! I want something!" over and over and over and over and over…
Nothing else. Just, "I want something! I want something! I want something!"
His mother kept showing him things, trying to distract him with the shiny tinsel and colorful baubles. But he was having none of it – just went on shouting "I want something! I want something! I want something! I want something!"
He was still screaming when I left the store. And he never said what it was he wanted.
Just a spoiled pre-schooler with an over-indulgent (and possibly deaf) parent? Or a runny-nosed metaphor for ourselves at this point in time? (Wow! And somewhere Rod Serling spins in his grave.)